The five a day rule is one of the most important rules to healthy eating. The five a day rule refers to the government’s recommendation that everyone eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. At first blush, five a day seems like a reasonable goal, but most people fail to eat sufficient amounts of these important foods.
It is important to remember the many advantages of fruits and vegetables when applying the five a day rule to your own diet. For one thing, fruits and vegetables taste great, contain fewer calories than many other foods and are full of many important vitamins and minerals. In addition, fruits and vegetables are colorful and beautiful, making them great garnishes and salad toppings.
In addition, fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare, even for the busiest individual. In most cases, fresh fruits require no preparation at all, other than a quick wash and perhaps peeling.
The five a day recommendation equates to roughly two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day, based on the average 2,000 calorie diet. This is not a difficult goal to reach, but it is important to keep the five a day goal in mind when grocery shopping, cooking and planning meals.
One great way to get started toward a five a day lifestyle is with a delicious serving of 100% fruit juice every morning. Apple juice, grapefruit juice and orange juice are all excellent choices for both taste and nutrition.
Fruits and vegetables can also be used as garnishes for other foods. Who doesn’t enjoy a sliced strawberry or banana with their morning cereal? And fruits and vegetables make great snacks as well. Whether you keep a couple of apples at your desk or a selection of carrot and celery sticks in the fridge, having fruits and vegetables readily at hand is a big part of the battle.
Of course variety is extremely important when making any change to your diet, and many dietary changes fail due to boredom. Constantly trying new varieties of fruits and vegetables is a great way to keep yourself interested in your new healthier way of eating. If you’ve never had kiwi fruit or asparagus, for instance, why not give it a try?
Combining attractive colors, shapes and sizes of fruits is another way to provide attractive and interesting meals for yourself and your family. Combining white grapes, red peppers and pineapple chunks can provide a delicious and attractive salad.
It is important to provide constant variety when implementing the five a day plan, particularly if you are cooking for a family. Try making some interesting new dishes, such as veggie pizza, made with fresh vegetables and whole wheat pizza crust, a fresh vegetable wrap, vegetable stir fry or pasta with fresh vegetables.
For those who think they are too busy to incorporate five servings of fruits and vegetables a day into their diet, there is help available. The many ready to eat, prepackaged salad kits on the market make it easier than ever to create a healthy salad on the go. Just keep a bottle of your favorite low fat or nonfat salad dressing on hand and you can enjoy a healthy salad anywhere and anytime.
Even fast food restaurants have made it easier than every to eat healthy, with every major chain now offering at least a few healthy menu items. In addition, most supermarkets sell fresh salads where you can create your own healthy lunch even if you’re pressed for time.
When creating your five a day healthy lifestyle, remember that fruits and vegetables make great snacks. An apple, orange or banana provides both great taste and excellent nutrition. In addition, the natural sugars contained in fruits do not provide the sugar high/sugar crash scenario all parents are familiar with.
Topping meals and salads with additional fruits and vegetables is a great way to enhance your new five a day lifestyle. Strips of green and red peppers, broccoli florets, sliced carrots and cucumbers are all great additions to pasta and potato salads. And of course carrots, spinach, apple slices, orange slices, nectarines, pineapples and raisins are all great additions to any salad.
In addition, adding fresh fruits to foods you already eat is a great way to make such foods part of your new lifestyle. Adding berries, bananas or oranges to cereal and yogurt is a great way to make sure you meet your five a day goal every day. Even better make it 7 a day. In fact try to aim for 50-70% of your diet coming from raw fruit and vegetables to gain the full benefit of the vitamins and minerals and important enzymes and other nutrients in raw foods.
We don’t just need food to satisfy ourselves and our hunger. The cells of the body also need nutrition. The body develops from a single cell and every part of our body is a collection of cells continually dying, being replaced, being repaired and maintained. The nutrients we get in our food have to be sufficient for cells to carry out this work as they are essential to our being.
Each cell has a nucleus containing the body’s DNA. Chromosomes are clusters of DNA molecules in a cell containing 1000′s of genes. Each cell contains 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs. Genes carry the genetic code for the formation of the body and every gene is a tiny piece of DNA.
Chromosomes are therefore part of our genetic make up. Shortages of nutrients causes cell damage including breaks in the chromosomes, which leads to disease. Folic acid is one nutrient needed for DNA repair and other nutrients also work at a cellular level providing the nutrients needed. We therefore need to be aware of the importance of a nutrient rich diet. Not just to feed us on a general level but also to supply the nutrients that are necessary for the very basics of our being – the cells.
If the cells don’t get the food needed they can’t operate properly and disease is more likely. The lack of nutients goes unnoticed until it is too late and the damage is done. This is one of the reasons that we should all be following a nutrient rich diet now, as a preventative measure and to help ensure a long and healthy life
Don’t forget you can download FREE my book ‘The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book’ from www.obooko.com under the Health and Self Improvement section.